Memorial for Chinese tourists killed in Taiwan landslides
Families of 20 Chinese tourists killed paid an emotional tribute to their loved ones. -AFP
TAIPEI - The families of 20 Chinese tourists killed in typhoon-triggered landslides in Taiwan paid an emotional tribute to their loved ones on Thursday.
Relatives, most of them in tears, laid flowers and fruit while burning incense sticks in front of a shrine decorated with the photos of the deceased in a public funeral parlour in Taipei.
While the bodies of the tourists have not yet been found, Taiwan prosecutors have declared them dead in order to enable the relatives to file compensation claims.
Nineteen tourists and a tour guide lost contact while travelling on buses along a highway ravaged by landslides when Typhoon Megi hit the island with torrential rains and strong winds late last month.
Taiwanese rescuers have since found only the upper torso, the left hand and the right leg of one female Chinese tourist in the waters off Ilan county, and it was believed that others could have been washed into the sea.
Relatives of the missing applied for formal death certificates after acknowledging that two weeks after the disaster there was no longer hope of finding any survivors, said Taiwan's Travel Agent Association.
The families are entitled to about 5.1 million Taiwan dollars (S$215,730) in compensation from travel liability insurance for each deceased tourist, according to the association.
Taiwan has hosted growing numbers of Chinese tourists in the past two years as ties improve following the 2008 election of Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-jeou as the island's president.
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